Simple Service: A Giving Birthday - Part 1

Service Project: A Giving Birthday Party

Prep time: 30 min (including figuring out what to write on the invitations)

Cost: $10 in supplies (not including postage)

Duration: 30 minutes

Lesson(s) learned: Birthdays can be about giving rather than getting

How we did it:

When I started thinking about Addie’s upcoming birthday party, three things came to mind, 1) Addie turns three in October, which means her birthday is less than three months away from Christmas, 2) her family and friends are incredibly generous and her playroom reflects it and 3) It’s clear to me that some of the most rewarding things for her cannot be found inside our home, but rather in the things that she does for people outside of our home.

Since the beginning of the year, Addie has completed close to 24 projects that either served her community or were acts of kindness. Out of any other subject that she spontaneously brings up, what she has learned from her service activities seems to shape what she reflects upon and talks about. The difference that Addie is making is amazing but what’s even more amazing to me is how much of a difference those activities are making in her. This sense of helping others and being kind pervades much of what she does. For example, she recently overheard a phone call that I had where I was very frustrated with a mix-up in an order that I had placed. I was not rude nor disrespectful on the call, however, Addie could tell that I was not happy. When I hung up the phone, the first thing she said to me was, “Be kind, mama, just be kind.” I instantly took a deep breath and walked over and hugged her. She was right, it was nothing to be upset about! The next day, we were driving in the car and her daddy mentioned that he, “doesn’t drive mama’s car too often.” From that comment, Addie said, “Mama, you should give other people your car to drive when they need it.” No, I didn’t jump out of my car and hand my keys over to the first person I saw walking on the road, however, I loved the sentiment that she was trying to convey - Help others in need.

It became clear to me that we should flip her birthday party from being a “getting event” to a “giving event.” So, with that thought, we came up with a plan. At the actual birthday party, we will have the children work on two different service activities. The first one that they will be doing is painting their very own charity change pot. This is one of Addie’s favorite things to do! The children will get to take these home with them and start collecting change to donate to their favorite charity. The second activity that we plan on doing with the children is to complete an art project that will then be donating to our local assisted living community! Another aspect that we are changing from a traditional birthday party is that instead of our guests bringing birthday gifts, we came up with a list of service activities that we planned to do throughout the next year and we invited our guests to join us on our adventures. To keep everyone connected with Addie’s year-long service efforts, I plan to send out a monthly newsletter of what she did for her community that month. We are so excited!

Our birthday invitation consisted of three parts,

1.     The main invitation (Who, What, Where, When). 

2.     A fun handprint by Addie with the words, “Little Hands Can Do Big Things.’ 

3.     A note regarding our idea of giving back to the community rather than receiving presents. 

Here are the supplies that we used:

Paint – to make handprints with

Large paintbrush

Colored paper (we chose three different colors)

Stamps and ink (optional)

Envelopes for mailing out invitations

Scissors

 

This is an example of the invitation. 

This is an example of the invitation. 

This is the template to that you can use for your child's handprint. 

This is the template to that you can use for your child's handprint. 

This is an example of what you can use to explain the idea of giving back to your community rather than receiving gifts. 

This is an example of what you can use to explain the idea of giving back to your community rather than receiving gifts. 

Here’s how we created and assembled our invitations;

1)    We printed out the handprint template. The template is set up so that you get two on a standard sized (8 ½ x 11) piece of paper.

2)    I chose a paint color that would stand out nicely on the yellow paper that we selected for the handprint. I put a small amount of paint on a paper plate and found a large paint brush to use. 

3)    I painted the orange paint onto Addie’s hand. This ensures that the paint is evenly distributed on her hand so that you don’t get big blobby sections on the actual handprint. 

4)    We made a little assembly line of handprints! I would repaint her hand for each handprint. 

5)    While the handprints were drying, I printed out the other two pieces of the invitation. Again, these were formatted so that you can get two per standard size piece of paper. 

6)    Cut out the individual invitations and keep them in their respective stacks to make it easier to assemble them. 

7)    Assemble the invitations and mail them (or hand-deliver)!

Our next post will share how our Giving Birthday went. Stay tuned!

Kelli worked in the technology industry for 20 years before taking time off to raise her daughter. She has an 18 year old son and a 2 year old daughter that have taught her how to appreciate every moment with them.

Kelli worked in the technology industry for 20 years before taking time off to raise her daughter. She has an 18 year old son and a 2 year old daughter that have taught her how to appreciate every moment with them.